words & photos: Maddie Vlismas @maddievlis
“A Tassie girl at heart, Maddy sings of the gripes of living in a small town..”
It’s the first truly balmy night of the summer at the Gasometer and summer is in the air. The roof of the venue is wide-open revealing the starry night sky and just a hint of a promise that the mosh might not get as unbearably sticky thanks to the added airflow.
Spit Chewy take the stage and cheekily encourage the crowd to boogie on closer to them. At 8:30pm on a Friday night, it’s a little too early in the evening for the punters in the crowd to truly let loose, but a few bodies succumb completely to the punky, surf-rock tunes. Anna, the front woman is wearing a t-shirt featuring an alien playing the guitar and toy cars dangle from her ear-lobes. These guys have definitely found their sound and set the tone for what’s going to be a super chill and fun night.
Next up on stage is a band from the Gold Coast, Eliza and the Delusionals. I’d not heard their music before but counted myself their most recently inaugurated fan the second Eliza opened her mouth. Her enthusiasm is downright infectious as she bounces around the stage, belting into her microphone. She’s a bright spot of colour against the backdrop of black worn by the guys in the band, kitted out in white vans, a short skirt and hair scrunchy. She provides the spunk and the heart of the group.
Their guitar melodies are another really strong element of their sound and I can hear similarities to so many popular Australian bands. Their drum and bass provide the internal heartbeat of each song, driving the music forward. I don’t need to stare into a crystal ball to tell you that these guys are going places. They’ll be regulars on the festival circuits in no time.
The familiar guitar melody for ‘Drown it Out’ kicks up and Maddy Jane and her band launch into the surfy tune. The crowd finally starts to boogie unabashedly, declaring that 11pm is an acceptable time to commit their full energy to the night.
I first discovered Maddy Jane through pure coincidence: by typing my own name into Spotify to see if there were any songs written about my namesake. Instead I found an artist bearing both my first and middle name, who I’d already been pumping in my car radio for years thanks to Triple J. Most accents aren’t distinguishable through singing, but that cannot be said of Maddy. Her thick Aussie accent dominates each word of her song and it’s a true delight.
Her new song ‘The Other Day’ goes off a little bit too hard at the beginning, as she accidentally knocks a glass of water onto her pedal board. After tipping the water off it, she holds it up to inspect it, gives a ‘what can you do?’ look to the audience and carries on as if it had never happened. The crowd is wrapt, pleased with the lack of interruption and continue to bounce around like popcorn cooking in a pan.
She breaks it down for a couple of slow jams, taking it back to a crowd favourite with ‘People’ and her breakthrough track ‘Thank You and Sorry’. Wiping her forehead she jokes and apologises in advance if she passes out mid set, but launches seamlessly into another high tempo tune. At least three of four band members on stage (I couldn’t see the drummer’s feet) are rocking RM Williams boots and as a result there’s a whole lot of kicking and stomping about the stage.
A Tassie girl at heart, Maddy sings of the gripes of living in a small town- the suburban delight that many Aussies can relate too. We learn that she’s been playing music with her band for years, having all grown up together and it’s really cool to watch the familiarity and comfort of a group who know each other from the inside out.
They start ‘No Other Way’ and the crowd rallies for what feels like the final song of the night. After a brief cough, the audience fill in the blanks that she’s left, carrying the song along for her. Rejoining them for the chorus, she sings a few lines “but there's no other way, there’s no way I’ll stay here,” before realising she might not make it through the rest of the song. She steps back gives the crowd a premature goodbye wave and a sorry while the band wrap the song up without her. The audience decide it’s their time to shine and sing the entire song in her place. It’s thing of mystery and beauty all in one.
Maddy appears at the Merch table a few minutes after, still a little red faced from the hot summer night but in otherwise perfect condition.